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May 28, 2007

A Victim’s Greatest Gift

Gary Ceran received the worst possible gift this past Christmas season: the death of his wife and two children by a drunk driver on Christmas Eve. But in response he gave one of the greatest: forgiveness. And the media actually decided to share the story with us.

My heart goes out to Gary and what remains of his family. Yet, his story provides much hope and direction to the rest of the world. Standing in a courtroom next to the drunk driver who had killed his family, Mr. Ceran offered Carlos forgiveness, and petitioned the judge for mercy on his behalf.

In response, the public prosecutor said that "he couldn't recall ever arguing for a harsher sentence than the one ought by a victim." What an amazing concept. (Too bad he couldn't have left his words at that. He practically slapped Mr. Ceran's face with his continuing comments.)

Prison Fellowship has long promoted the principles of restorative justice, a practice which emphasizes forgiveness, reconciliation and restoration (responsibility). Forgiveness is so important for both the victim and the offender if there is to be healing from the crime. No matter what the sentencing results in this case, I'm so glad that Mr. Prieto and Mr. Ceran found justice, healing and peace beyond the confines of the courtroom.

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